Welsh patients face 'worrying lack of information' says report

Stethoscope Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Over the border waiting times, prescription policies and IT systems are different

Patients in Wales living near the border with England face "a worrying lack of information" about the impact of policy differences on their healthcare, a group of MPs has said.

The Welsh Affairs Committee has said there is confusion about the growing differences since devolution.

The cross-party group said thousands of patients with NHS England GPs receive too little healthcare information.

A Welsh government spokesman said the report would be looked at.

'I'd chose England'

The committee's report, published on Thursday, says some Welsh patients complained they were treated as second-class citizens by the NHS in England.

It also suggests the answer lies in governments and healthcare bodies working more closely together.

Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, told BBC Radio Wales he would rather be treated in England.

Image caption Mr Davies said the report drew attention to the fact standards are different on both sides of the border

"Well, frankly, like a lot of my constituents, I would chose to be treated in England, not in Wales," he said.

"If I was ill I wouldn't wait as long for an operation, if I had cancer I would get access to drugs I can't get... If I was calling an ambulance it would arrive faster in England, if I was waiting in Accident and Emergency I would wait for a shorter time in England and there's more money going into the NHS in England than in Wales."

Mr Davies said the report drew attention to the fact that standards were different on either side of the border.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty, a Labour member of the committee, said the Tory MP's comments "make no sense".

"He says he would rather be treated in England if he had cancer but you get treated sooner in Wales.

"He says that he'd rather go to A&E in England but recently all the consultant doctors in Redditch hospital in Worcestershire left en masse because of the impact of Tory NHS reorganisation.

"People living on the border will be upset that he chose to chase headlines rather than reflect on the findings of the report."

'Strong and close relationship'

A Welsh government spokesman said the report would be looked at.

"Every year, thousands of English patients are treated in Wales and thousands of Welsh patients are treated in England," he said.

"We want to make sure our two health services continue to have a strong and close relationship that benefits patients in both countries."

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